A little bit about Welsh Blankets…
These highly collectable, gorgeous designs were made from two pieces of cloth woven together on a Dobby loom, and are exceptionally warm and heavy! They mostly originate from North Wales, and many were made for the tourist industry because of their eye catching desigms. In terms of timelines, the most commonly found ones come from the 60’s/70’s.
Nowdays, these are real heirloom pieces and once you fall for them, it’s a love that will last a lifetime! They bring a gorgeous eclectic quality to your home, and the unique designs are unmistakable.
Here is some further information from the website for welsh cultural history:
Woollen bedcovers ('carthenni') have always been woven in Wales and, over the centuries, several distinctive styles evolved. The earliest blankets were usually made on a single loom and consisted of two narrow widths of fabric joined down the centre by hand. This was done either at the mill or by the purchaser at home. Single-loom blankets of this type were the norm before the turn of the twentieth century although, with the introduction of the double loom, many blankets dating from the early twentieth century were constructed in one section. However, many of the smaller mills, as well as individual weavers, did not convert to wider looms and, as a result, narrow-loom blankets continued to be produced in significant quantities during the 1920s and 30s and even later. Both narrow and wide-loom blankets are included in the selection featured here.
Plain, undyed, natural wool blankets were the most common examples, and often featured bold, vertical stripes in black, navy or brown on a natural cream background. Plaids were also immensely popular and, during the nineteenth century, usually featured strong, dark colours against a natural cream background. Mill owners liked to mix coloured yarns and, although some colour combinations were enormously subtle and pleasing on the eye, some proved to be quite garish. Synthetic dyes were introduced soon after 1855, but many of the smaller mills persisted in their use of natural dyes well into the 1930s. These included madder and cochineal for reds, woad and indigo for blues, and various berries and lichens for other shades. Later blankets tended to incorporate more colours and there was a predilection for pastel shades.
Many Welsh blankets were fringed at top and bottom but a true 'carthen' or 'fringed quilt' was to be used as a bedspread as well as a blanket, and was surrounded by fringing on all four sides. Blankets produced from Welsh wool also had a characteristically coarse texture. Due to environmental conditions and an irregular diet, sheep indigenous to Wales produced a comparatively rough fleece and this was reflected in the graininess of many blankets, particularly the earlier ones. Indeed, these earlier blankets are often currently referred to by interior designers and textile historians as 'gritty' blankets.
The so-called 'tapestry' quilt, which was probably considered to be the most typically Welsh of all woollen bed covers. These quilts were not, in fact, made from tapestry at all but rather a double-weave cloth usually woven in two-ply woollen yarn. This double-cloth structure produced practical and hard-wearing bedcovers, as well as bold reversible patterns. The patterns featured on these 'tapestry' quilts were usually unique to individual mills and the earliest examples usually featured subtler colours and more intricate patterns than later designs.
Source: Jen Jones, 'Welsh Quilts' (Carmarthen: Towy Publishing, 1997) and Ann Sutton, 'The Textiles of Wales' (London: Bellew Publishing Company Ltd, 1987).
Care of Welsh Blanket Cushions
Welsh blankets should never be washed! Always dry clean only, being that they are 100% wool.